Drinks at Fernside make it feel like summertime any day of the year. At least, that was part of the goal when they created the recipe for the Nude Beach. A slight nod to San Diego’s Black’s Beach, Christian Siglin picked the name because it was “Cheeky and fun... a nude beach just sounds kind of funny, reminiscent, puts you in a sense of place and time. And watermelon is a summer fruit, so that all just ties into how I want people to feel when they’re drinking — free, like a summertime cocktail.”
1946 Fern St,, San Diego
Pretty in pink, the drink packs a punch from jalapeño-infused tequila offset by house-made watermelon syrup. “Spicy drinks sell like crazy,” he says. “I needed a drink we could do that was spicy and approachable, but fun and different. The combination of the earthiness of the tequila and the jalapeño together has this really bright green element to it. And the watermelon is a crowd pleaser; it has this cooling effect to it, which is really refreshing.”
Hints of lime and grapefruit bring it all together to produce a light, well-balanced cocktail. “I just added a little grapefruit,” he says, distinguishing Nude Beach from a paloma. “It made the drink really stand out, because it added the bitterness you would want from a cocktail, but not in an ‘in-your-face’ way. It kept it super juicy, but added that extra layer of umami.”
Topo Chico is one of Siglin’s go-to mixers. “They’re just easy drinking; it replaces soda but it gives that carbonation. Sodas can get really sweet, so we try to take some of the sweet out of it.”
To Christian, a good tequila tastes vibrant and “has a very alive character to it that you don’t get in other spirits.” He prefers blanco, especially for citrus cocktails, in order to “showcase the green elements of tequila without masking it with any age. So, we do a jalapeño-infused tequila which amplifies the vegetal component. It gives it a bite.”
The infusion happens in-house, using about 10 pounds of jalapeños per two cases of tequila at a time. “Depending on the time of year, jalapeños can be temperamental — sometimes they’re like bell peppers, sometimes they’re serrano spicy. So we taste along the way to make sure we’re getting the heat level we’re looking for, without going over the top.”
His gauge on a successful final product: “There’s a little lingering heat. It’s there, but it’s not going to kill you.”
The Nude Beach is cheeky and fun.
Fernside’s Nude Beach
- 2 oz jalapeño-infused Pueblo Viejo Blanco Tequila
- ¾ oz lime juice
- ¾ oz watermelon syrup
- ½ oz grapefruit Juice
- Club soda (Topo Chico)
Combine all ingredients but club soda in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake until cold, and strain into a collins glass. Top with club soda and garnish with a lime wheel.